So far, being on the road with twenty-some of the most genuine and talented men that I’ve ever met in my life has been nothing short of a dream come true.
Nevertheless, not all that glitters is gold on tour. Traffic? Expected. Breakdowns? So far so good! (Knock on wood) But people – oh dear, some people. With such an eclectic group of guys it wasn’t long before we had a major mouth off and were threatened by the cops.
Soon after waking up in St. Petersburg, several of the guys informed me that we were conveniently parked right next to a laundromat diagonally opposite from the apartment we crashed at. SANCTUARY! I thought, considering that I hadn’t been able to use my blanket or my pillow in three days (to find out why, read over my first tour check-in here).
Over the course of an hour everyone’s eyes were open, jaws stretched, and arms up to the sky. I went around and collected a few of the other guys’ clothes to rack up a full load. As we were standing outside, killing time and prepping ourselves for the day ahead, an elderly woman (who we later found out is the owner of the laundromat) came out to “greet us”.
Lady: Ahem. “Can you tell me what is going on here?” as she directs her cane to our trail of cars. “Are you guys moving in? What are you doing here?”
Puzzled by her tone of voice, one of us finally speaks out.
Olivia (the only other female on the tour): “We’re on tour!” She says as sweet as can be. “We’re just getting up and putting ourselves together before we head to the beach.”
Lady: “Well you’ve been parked here since yesterday and you’re blocking the street for our customers.”
Despite being a customer ourselves, we hadn’t actually parked there until 4am.
Freddie genuinely inquires: “Isn’t this a public space?”
The laundromat lady became instantly offended and continued passive aggressively with: “Why are you getting a tone? If you don’t want to be friendly we don’t have to be. We’re in Florida, we Floridians are nice people, but you say this is public space. Fine.”
She continues to bad mouth the crew to her other customers and indirectly threatening to call the cops on us and continued to do so until our laundry was done and we left.
Meanwhile in Bored’s caravan…
…they were facing more detrimental issues to the tour. After the first stop in Augusta, GA, Flaco had already lost his voice. Forty-five minutes of ad-libbing, jumping around, and fifteen minutes of his solo set can definitely put a strain on one’s voice, but not like this. After talking to a few of the Bored guys, I learned this has been a reoccurring issue for Flaco since SXSW 2014.
A little fun fact about Flaco is that he truly does everything in his power to take care of his instrument; his voice. In every city, he goes out and runs to get his body used to the air. He practices 10 minutes of vocal stretches before every show. He’s so cautious about his body that he hardly drinks or smokes while he’s out on tour.
Yet, unfortunately for him, he is seemingly more prone to straining his voice than any of the other guys, but that doesn’t stop him. Searching for every avenue to remedy the situation, who better to come through than Ace One with his ‘Magic Elixir’. In addition to the elixir, there was talk about how Flaco damn near chugged an entire bottle of honey over the course of a couple days.
Later on, we come to find that he’s not the only one on Bored who needs the honey. Long days, extensive drives, and little to no sleep- next thing you know, Benny gets an itch in his throat and you hear Tag getting the sniffles. Despite their struggles, they just cough, brush it off, stay on top of their hustle and keep the flow goin’.
On top of that they take such good care of each other and vibe incredibly well as a group, that they simply won’t let sickness get in the way. Eight boys packed in a tiny room with wooden floors and limited blankets and pillows; Tag makes sure sleeping articles are fairly distributed. Sick Benny was looking miserable in bed the next morning then the ‘Beats by Dre Pill’ turns on and all of the sudden I look over and he’s jumping on the bed all hyped up with a few other bodies getting their sway on too.
Poised #GLIYDT A photo posted by Timothy Garza (@boredtag) on
South by South West
This tour was so DIY that despite having a couple shows lined up at designated venues, the crew had also brought a tent and a PA system to set up a renegade stage in the midst of the SXSW madness.
The first day in Austin, the Bored crew took it easy by bringing the ‘Beats by Dre Pill’ to promote their music throughout the street, only to be stopped by a cop who says that anything that is amplified will not only result in confiscation but also arrest.
With the renegade stage being the primary goal for the boys during the festival, Freddie manages to fit the crew into a few time slots for a Saturday set.
By this time we’ve been on the road for seven days and through eight cities. Nostalgia escapes the breath of some of the guys during pillow talk. Some can’t wait for their beds, or their pets to greet them at their front door. Paigedro (pronounced like “Pedro”) of Bored can’t wait to start on new music projects; Niq (aka Sirius Blvck) can’t wait to get back to his precious newborn, Khida. But Niq isn’t the only new-found father on the trip.
Father to be A photo posted by Timothy Garza (@boredtag) on
First thing in the morning on the third day of tour, Tim Garza aka Tag of Bored woke up in St. Augustine to that ‘late-text’ from his love back home with an affirmed picture of the pregnancy test. Inevitable shock strikes the 24 year old at first, later followed with pride. After getting to kick it with him one night, he shares with me that he truly looks forward to being able to shape the mind of his very own child and it’s all the more a plus that it’s with the love of his life.
So despite the nightmares we’ve faced along the road, there is a grand light at the end of this tunnel for all of us, some even more luminous than others. The Good Luck In Your Dreams Tour has been incredible, but Indy – we’re coming for you and we can’t wait to be home!
For more on the Good Luck In Your Dreams Tour, read my first tour check in and watch the video below from Bored:
These tour stats are impressive, but they barely begin to scratch the surface of understanding what it takes to produce a DIY tour with fully independent artists. As he prepares to take his entourage on the fourth #ghostgunsummer road tour in a year, I asked Freddie Bunz to talk about his plans for this run and how he keeps track of all the moving parts.
The Necessity of Touring
The tour will consist of a caravan of three vehicles: one van carrying the nine-person #ghostgunsummer team (a hybrid of Heavy Gun and GhostTown Collective members & their road crew), another van occupied by nine members of Bored. and one car with a filmmaking group from Musical Family Tree. All in all, a grand total of 22 people.
Bunz, the organizer of the tour, didn’t get here over night, though. In fact, he credits Andy D for taking him under his road warrior wing .
“Andy D really did show me a lot. A large part of it is all about making real connections with the people you meet,” Bunz says reflecting on his first time performing on the road.
Building on that momentum, Bunz hit the road again a few months later (this time without Andy D’s guidance) and then again in more recent months. This time around, he’s nearly got it down to a science – right down to the hired driver who doubles as a roadside chef.
Bunz says he never saw himself playing this role (“I thought I was just gonna be like, Freddie Bunz – the artist.”) but one day realized that people won’t just stumble onto his music and become life-long devoted fans on their own.
So he started booking tours because, he says, “That’s what it takes is… leaving here.”
It’s all part of the bigger picture that focuses around building a network of venues and promoters across multiple states and cities. Local fame is great, but Bunz isn’t quick to settle into the idea of working in a bubble, either. And for him, it’s not enough to share Naptown talent with the rest of the country; he wants to bring new styles and sounds to The Circle City, too.
“I used to think, ‘Man! There’s just so much talent here,’ but the truth of it is –there’s dope stuff in every single city on this planet. There are really great, passionate artists of every stroke everywhere you go and I want to be able to feature as much of that as I can.”
Which speaks to the necessity of touring: He has to build that network of contacts that both trust him and who he can trust when it comes to quality, reliable artists so that they can trade dates and share audiences whenever new talent is ready to try their hand at touring.
The Art of Touring
Bunz says he learns something critical every time he and the #ghostgunsummer crew start another adventure on the road. The biggest lesson he learned on the last tour, he says, is timing. Arriving at the destination long before the show starts that night is a crucial part of keeping morale high and stress levels low.
Because of this, they often leave in the middle of the night (this is when having a hired driver comes in handy) and sleep in the van to make sure they comfortably (time wise) get where they need to be the next day. This approach ultimately buys them more chill time on travel days, allowing hour-long rest stops to stretch their legs and make a sandwich out of the cooler.
Which is another key learning Bunz has found only through trial and error: how to stay nourished for cheap while on tour. Fast food catches up quickly with both the wallet and the stomach, so it’s a luxury they reserve for days when they’re most pressed for time.
Instead, the hired driver doubles as a roadside chef and plans as many meals in advance that he possibly can. From smoked, cured meats to pre-boiled, vacuum-sealed pasta – these are all signs that suggest this ain’t these boys’ first rodeo.
But there’s so much more to gain than just how the logistics of moving and feeding bodies works. There are also valuable lessons to be learned about business, communication and networking.
In fact, it’s someone’s job on the #ghostgunsummer road crew to collect the contact information of everyone they meet at every stop on the tour. Then Bunz uses his downtime in the van to connect the very next day on all the appropriate platforms and start working on the next project, before the current one has even concluded.
“I don’t think that there’s ever a bad show,” Bunz says of the unique learning opportunity that is touring. “You might not get the turnout that you want, but something positive happens at every show – whether it’s another artist that you might want to collaborate with or him giving you a lead on another place to book a show. Something positive always comes out of it. It just happens.”
The Success of Touring
Bunz says one of the biggest keys to the success they’ve seen is by finding their niche within mid-level markets – the small-but-large cities that are often overlooked on major tours carrying mainstream acts with big record deals and deep pockets. Noting the willingness of independent artists and promoters to help each other, Bunz says he’s always amazed at how enthusiastic strangers can be when they connect on tour.
“It’s so righteous because people just care about what you’re trying to do. Most people that have pull (like promoters) see it like this: These guys are out here thousands of miles from Indiana doing something their passionate about, not even guaranteed that they’re gonna make fifty bucks. And then they just help you. It might not be money. It might be a place to sleep – and you might be laying like sardines on the floor – but it’s not in the van and that means everything.”
But, ultimately, touring is about connecting with new fans – something Bunz has seen no shortage of, either. This is also a result of the fertile mid-markets they frequent, he says.
“Cities like Augusta, GA; Chattanooga, TN; and Greenville, SC have a good population but they don’t get a lot of stuff coming through,” Bunz says of the warm reception they’ve found in these and other cities across the south.
“People just go out to shows there. That’s a thing that I’ve noticed in other cities: they have venues that people just go to no matter what. They know if the venue has something going on that night, it’s gonna be cool and they just show up.”
The closest he’s seen to something like that – a place that’s truly accessible and approachable by all social circles and musical tastes – in Indianapolis is the HiFi, which is why he’s selected it for their tour kick off show this Monday March 9th.
If you want to help support what Bunz and the rest of the #ghostgunsummer crew are doing, cough up the five bucks (proceeds to help fund food, gas and lodging on the tour) and come give them a good send off.
Curious what tour life is really like?
We are, too. That’s why we’re sending Mojo Minute correspondent Jackie Dee along on the Good Luck In Your Dreams Tour. Keep a close eye on our social media feeds using the hashtag #ghostgunsummer (on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) for updates live from the field until they return home on Sunday March 22nd.
Monday March 9, 8:00 PM – $5
HiFi (1043 Virginia Ave Suite 4)
#GHOSTGUNSUMMER (FREDDIE BUNZ, OREO JONES, GREY GRANITE, SIRIUS BLVCK, JOHN STAMPS, WITH ACE ONE.)
SEDCAIRN ARCHIVES ( FORMERLY DMA )
Sirius Blvck Drops the Visuals for “Tribe Quest” Featuring Oreo Jones and DMA
Since his 2007 debut as the frontman for Indian City Weather, Sirius Blvck has been leaving his mark on the Indianapolis music scene as one of the city’s premier emcees. With Indiana City Weather, Sirius released two album that blended the group’s diverse backgrounds in hip-hop, funk, and rock. In 2012, Sirius released his debut solo mixtape titled Smoke in the Trees, which was followed by the first two of three albums with producer Bones of Ghosts.
source: press release
As a self-proclaimed “Man of the People”, there’s never been a better time for this homegrown producer and promoter to be grinning. His dudes in Ghost Gun Collective are putting Indianapolis rap on the map, his sixth Beat Battle is about to take over The Vogue, and he’s actually got a clothing line in the works. It would be weird if he wasn’t cheesing from ear to ear most days of the week.
His sixth annual Beat Battle is going down at The Vogue on Saturday the 23rd, and expectations are higher than ever. This grassroots clash of producers boasts every brand of hip-hop style imaginable. From EDM to old-school hip-hop, this 16 man battle will truly test each producer’s chops. Tony Styxx , a JBBB competitor at last year’s event, popped through our interview at Sabbatical and had some wisdom to share.
“Nobody’s beat battle, anywhere, is better than the Jay Brookinz Beat Battle. It’s fair, it’s precise, and there’s no favoritism,” said Styxx as he walked back into the restaurant with a guitar slung over his back.
Starting as an event at the Broad Ripple Music Festival, Brookinz and his friends got the whole thing kicked off six years ago, and have never looked back.
“This is the real deal!” exclaimed Brookinz, “If we don’t make the real deal, than the real deal won’t happen”.
This seems to be the mindset with the majority of Indy’s recent cultural explosion. Microbreweries, artists and restaurants alike seem to be continually founded by Indy natives, because they want to see it happen here. Brookinz has even hung up his artist hat, for the time being, to focus on making the beat battle an enormous cultural event for Indianapolis.
With this night gaining momentum every year, its fair to say that the historic Vogue is the ideal place for it. However, with the recent string of violence looming over the neighborhood’s head, some people may feel skeptical about heading into Broad Ripple at all, let alone for a hip-hop battle. Brookinz and Styxx made it abundantly clear that the JBBB is a drama-free night.
“It pains me that Broad Ripple has a bad reputation now, and I want to combat that. I want to bring back the good,” he stated as he and this writer reminisced about the days when The Village was more than just a party strip.
Back when Broad Ripple was the sole epicenter of Indianapolis art and culture, there seemed to be less booze-fueled confrontation. Maybe an arts revival is just what this little community needs, and maybe the beat battle itself can be a catalyst for the area’s “Stop the Violence” campaign.
“The only thing we’re beating up is people’s ear drums”, he enthusiastically stated.
With the deep and talented music scene that’s rising all across Indy, it’s a boon to Broad Ripple to be the host of such a prominent cultural act. Brookinz dreams of an artistic and cultural renaissance across the metropolitan area, with Ripple at the center.
Music is only one of his visions, though, as he prepares to launch his own clothing line. Stemming from the success of his hilarious 4/20 t-shirt, this line will take on a unique, and slightly more serious vibe. Be sure to grab a hat or shirt while at the JBBB!
By the way, this line-up is stacked. Look for live tunes by local legends such as Grey Granite, Pope Adrian Bless, and Sirius Blvck. Legendary DJ Topspeed will be present, as will be Maxie (Young Tone). There will be plenty of new and old favorites streaming through The Vogue, and going head to head for that $500 cash prize.
We thought the man had gone mad last year when he and Grey Granite embarked on a bike ride adventure from Broad Ripple to the westside’s Victory MFG, venue for JBBB 2013. Continually setting the bar higher for himself, this year Brookinz has cooked up one of the most unique marketing ideas the flier-lined streets of Broad Ripple has ever seen. He will camp outside the venue for two full days to talk to the citizens and patrons of Broad Ripple and encourage them to attend the sixth annual Jay Brookinz Beat Battle.
Brookinz will be tweeting, greeting, and chatting with the local folks to drum up support for Indy’s most prominent night in hip-hop. His dream is to “do what I love to do” and who can pish-posh that? With an army of talented musicians, music lovers, and culture purveyors in Indianapolis, the time has never been riper for Brookinz, and all of Indy, to follow their wildest dreams and make this city a more vibrant place to live.
Saturday August 23rd
The Vogue Theatre
Buy tickets: http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/640285
Fireworks? Check. Patriotism? Check. Beer? Check. If you’re looking to add a little more action to your standard Fourth of July agenda, then we at IndyMojo have got you covered. Come peep our handpicked selections of some of Indy’s most happenin’ local offerings!
Kick it off with Breaks: Elite Force at Altered Thurzdaze
One of the biggest acts at Burning Man every year is Elite Force. This Thursday, July 3rd, you will have the chance to witness him at Indy’s very own Mousetrap. The event will be a steam punk/burning man-themed show, so make sure to bring out your best desert gear. Additionally, a second stage has been added so you can move from inside to out and still enjoy the sounds. Come out and see this musical magician at work and let’s get dusty!
Read the rest of our preview of this event here.
If bass music isn’t your thing, we’d also recommend Bear Hands at Radio Radio.
Friday July 4th
Local Music & Local Beer: 2nd Annual Fourth of July Fest: Indiana City Brewing Co.
2 PM, tickets here
The fine folks at Indiana City Brewing Co. will be helping you embrace your inner-American at 247 Shelby St. this 4th of July. Tapping into their golden, hoppy “Independence IPA” will only be a portion of the fun to be had at this local Indy favorite. Delicious grilled tamales and the like will be served by Tlaolli. As if the drinks and eats weren’t enough, there will be live, Indianapolis music aplenty. We Are Hex, Sirius Bvlck, Pravada, Andy D, Apollo Mono, and DJ Andorid will all be serving up some of the city’s finest tunes. As if all this awesomeness isn’t enough, be sure to stick around for a great view of the city’s fireworks. Buy your tickets early for $5, or grab ‘em at the door for $7, either way, it’s gonna be all about ‘murica y’all!
Local Noms & Alternative Folk Music: First Food Truck Friday: Old National Centre
5 PM, tickets here
Per usual, this event kicks butt. Five bucks get you: Live music, ice cold booze, and some of Indy’s tastiest mobile food vendors. This month’s won’t be one to miss, because it happens to fall on the nation’s most celebrated day, July 4th. This event will be offering a fabulous vantage point for Indy’s renowned firework display. With over 30 food trucks present at this monthly event, and a stunning view of Indy’s traditional firework display, this FFFTFF should be on everyone’s lists. Oh yes, and Rusted Root will be playing there, too. Remember that “Send me on my waaayyy” song? From Matilda? Well, yes, they will be there in full force, helping you honor your independence in their peppy, folksy fashion.
Alt Rock, All Day: Fountain Square Music Festival
12 pm, $7
After a successful inaugural event last year, this local single-day festival is sure to be populated with the who’s who of the Indy music scene- both on stage and off. Billed as a non-profit established to benefit the Fountain Square Arts Council, you can rest easy knowing your hard-earned dollars will stay within the community you know and love.
Bands on the entertainment agenda include Verdant Vera, Jenn Christy, Bonesetters, Ampersand Blues Band, Train Company, The Steepwater Band, Hero Jr., Brandon Whyde, Sweet Poison Victim, and The Last IV.
Local Fundraiser Boasting National & Regional Acts On Georgia St.
2 PM, $20 tickets here
The INDYpendence Day is a fundraiser for cancer awareness that rocks. Last year this event raised over $50,000 for the St. Francis Patient Assistance Fund. With this in mind, by attending this event, you can not only honor our beloved country with rock n’ roll, but you can also help your fellow citizens in need! With Filter, Dirty Heads, Fuel, Midwest State of Mind, Standout Story, Pragmatic, and Phosphene listed as the music block, there should be a sound present for any alternative music fan.
Max Allen Band at The Mousetrap
Local mainstays The Max Allen Band will be exactly what you need after spending the day with your relatives and their children. Read our MAB profile where front man Max Allen tells IndyMojo.com about the inspiration for their 2013 release Everyone Thinks You’re Weird to get ready for a heady-good time with this talented rock/jam/blues band.
Saturday July 5th
And the Beat Goes On ’til Saturday at Indy CD & Vinyl
2 PM, Free
Musical Family Tree presents the gentlemen of Blue Moon Revue the day following the 4th. There’s no reason that our greatness should be toasted to on Friday only, so lets keep this party swinging on through Saturday! Come catch some of Indy’s finest perform a free set at one of Indy’s best establishments, and shampoo away your hangover with some delicious local brews.
Bookended by bass: Magnetic, Manitoa, Kodama & Indigo Child
9 pm, $5
If you kick off your holiday weekend with bass music as we’ve suggested above, why not end it on that same note? With four fantastic local DJs billed for a show that costs just $5, it works out to be $1.25 per set- a bargain you can’t afford to not take advantage of.
On a frigid Thursday evening in mid-January, I parked my car on an ice-covered neighborhood road somewhere in Irvington and carefully walked to the front door of Lauren Moore’s cozy Eastside home. I let myself in to a house I’d never visited before and tip toed around the living room until I heard laughter from the basement and realized the party was downstairs. Friends, fans, and followers of Moore and her newest project, Mass Love, had gathered in her bedroom studio to hang out, eat Jockamo Pizza, drink beer, and listen to her labor of love that’s been a year in the making.
Mass Love formed three years ago when South African producer David Beukes saw one of Moore’s videos she had posted in a thread on Reddit. Instantly attracted to her deep, soulful vocals and songwriting abilities, he reached out for permission to remix one of her tracks.
The pair hit it off and soon started working together, albeit sporadically. Beukes noted that they could never seem to make the time for an album and half-jokingly criticizes, “We suck a lot, especially at time management.”
When they heard about an annual month-long challenge called February Album Writing Month (FAWM), the structure and pressure to write 14 songs in one month was instantly appealing.
“We figured it would provide a good, disciplined framework,” Beukes explains. “For a month I got up at 2 a.m., which sounds hectic but actually isn’t because I have a very small kid so I get up really early anyway.”
In that one month- despite the time difference and distance- they got the job done while simultaneously maintaining jobs and lives. Post-production took much longer (Beukes says it was officially finished only days before the listening party), but the end product was more than worth the wait.
As the clock ticked over into the 8 o’clock hour, with introductions and backstories out of the way, the official unveiling of Prototype began. Beukes joined live from Africa via Skype (it was 2 a.m. for him), while the Indianapolis attendees waited patiently for the songs they had come to hear. As a loud crash followed by a gentle, melodic violin rolled across the room, conversations were silenced and all attention shifted to the music.
Opening track, “The Fall”, resonates with an inexplicable, larger-than-life cinematic experience. As Moore revealed that the song’s focus is Caprica, a city from Battlestar Galactica, Beukes began to chuckle out loud in the background- the same way a sibling would while teasing his little sister. Written in response to a FAWM challenge to compose a song about a city, Moore’s inspiration for “The Fall” was the first of many references to her inner sci-fi geek, as well as a peek at the hilarious banter resulting from her and Beukes’ playful dynamic.
Time To Go
“Time To Go” begins with flowing, heavily digitized vocals and a deep, twisting bass line. Samples of Moore singing are chopped and distorted to give certain parts of the song a robotic texture, while the strikingly raw chorus is both enchanting and curious.
And I’m not gonna be sorry for feeling nothing in return. And I’m not gonna feel guilty for seeing that it’s time to go.
She goes on to sing in the second verse,
Wish I could make you see the reality. I swear I didn’t mean to turn you on. It means nothing to me, just a little distraction.
Sung with conviction, one would easily believe Moore is sharing a personal tale of a past relationship with little substance in “Time To Go.” Surprisingly, however, she remembers listening to a lot of hip hop when she was writing the track and says that the culture of disposable relationships really struck her at the time.
“I was like, ‘How can they say shit like that?’ I forget what [Lil Wayne] was saying but it was something like, ‘You’re gonna waste my time unless you’re gonna get drunk and fuck me.’”
In a moment of grand creative instinct, Moore decided to channel her inner Lil Wayne and write as if she, too, could use men and toss them aside just like Weezy does with his bitches. Her songwriting stands out most when she steps into someone else’s shoes and composes from their point of view- something she does frequently throughout Prototype.
Moore explained, “I like to sing from other peoples’ perspective. When I write, it always ends up being about one guy. Always,” she said sarcastically, but honestly, as she rolled her eyes at herself.
And then, in the last 30 seconds of the song, the listener is introduced to a distinctive quality of Beukes’ production work that is consistent in his work throughout Prototype – The Unexpected Genre Change. A Night At The Roxbury-esque beat drops in and the robotic bleep-bloops return from earlier to carry the song out with energetic fist pumps and booty bumps.
Beukes introduced this track by discussing its evolution over time.
“I struggled for quite some time to find this track. It went through about three different versions before it got here. I hated it for the longest time because it just didn’t want to work. And then finally I decided to make it evil and then it worked.”
The “evil” that he speaks of is, again, The Unexpected Genre Change. It begins innocently enough- a distressed, but harmless, Moore sings breathily over stringed instruments. Just under one minute in, “Never Be” adjusts its mood towards something troubling, then does it again 30 seconds later- progressively getting darker and menacing with each step- altering between the two sensations for the remainder of the song.
At the listening party, “Spring Green” was the seventh track played, but it’s positioned as the twelth track on the final version of Prototype. The switch was the result of an “independent jury” of opinions that came forth during the listening party.
“There are two tracks on this album with this kind of feel- this borderline acoustic funk. There is some debate…”
He paused and took a breath before continuing,
“… some people feel that one of the songs is superior to the other.”
Moore giggled lightly to herself and Beukes went on to explain the present conflict.
“I would like some support for this particular argument. I’m not saying that either track is inferior per se, but there’s one later on called ‘Didn’t You Know’ that kicks this one’s ass and I would like that confirmed by an independent jury. Okay, now you can play it.”
As Moore messed with speaker adjustments to play the song, she explained that it was another track written in response to the FAWM challenge to write about a city. This time, however, she wrote from the perspective of Frank Lloyd Wright after she visited Spring Green, Wisconsin to see Wright’s Taliesin as well as The House on the Rock.
“Spring Green” sounds like a hazy summertime stroll feels: humid, unhurried, maybe even doleful. The combination of Moore’s entrancing, smoky vocals and Beukes’ bluesy, swinging production meld together in a radiant way.
Didn’t You Know
“Didn’t You Know”, the song rivaling “Spring Green”, comes on strong with a grandiose, horn-heavy 15-second introduction, at which point one guest spoke up to end the debate immediately.
“Lauren, I’m sorry. You’re wrong,” he said.
The rest of the attendees laughed lightheartedly as they braced themselves for the rest of the rousing track.
Classy and nostalgic, “Didn’t You Know” is reminiscent of waltzing to jazz and swaying to a big band blues concert. It invokes images of glamour and grace.
As it ended, it received the greatest applause of any track of the evening.
Moore looked directly at Beukes through her webcam and said with a hint of disbelief in her voice, “I guess everybody agrees with you.”
She fliped around in her chair to the rest of the room and continueed, “How weird is that? I don’t like it at all. I really don’t.”
Big Brother Beukes chimed in again, this time with some insightful advice.
“When you hate the track most, that’s generally when other people like it.”
The only track on the album with vocal credits not belonging to Moore or Beukes is “Emotions Chasing”, enlisting local up-and-comers from the relentlessly collaborating and incessantly working talent pool known as Ghost Town. Moore acknowledged the challenges of working with such a busy group of creatives (“It took me forever to get Ghost Town to agree to record on this track.”) but also pondered the nature of Mass Love’s relationship with the group; could an electro-synth pop music project “date” a collective of rapping emcees?
Prototype gains momentum with “Emotions Chasing” as it heads into the last third of the album. It’s an eclectic mix of poppy electronic music with fancy rhythms and big, cinematic sounds to this point, but the dash of hip hop gives Prototype a healthy dose of surliness- most notably on Peteyboy’s verse at the song’s midpoint:
Sometimes I think this is more than what you think you wanted. Just cut the shit; we just being honest. Woulda gave you the stars and every moon in Mars if that was what you wanted, but now it’s stuck in this ugly moment.
Bookended with strong support from Sirius Blvck and Freddie Bunz, all elevated by Moore’s buoyant, dreamy vocals, “Emotions Chasing” is a Prototype standout.
Closer “Machine” is aptly named: futuristic, industrial, and perfectly engineered. As the most aggressive and dance-worthy track on the album, it’s a strong note to end on that leaves the listener ready for more.
Luckily for that hungry listener, Mass Love is nearing the end of FAWM 2014 which will eventually become the second release in the series.
Expecting the obvious answer that I received, Moore and Beukes both nod to the time zone and mileage difference as the single biggest challenge to the project. Once they settled into a routine, however, it came to be a regular part of their day.
“Luckily, Beukes is an early riser anyway, so we found a good 2-3 hour chunk (my later evening, his early morning) to get things done and attempt to be on the same page every day,” said Moore. Slow South African internet and regular power outages on Beukes’ end made for the occasional roadblock as well.
The rewards, however, were clearly worth the trouble. Moore cited the “undeniable camaraderie that can only occur between internet friends” as the greatest gift of the project- a necessary ingredient in the making of a cross-Atlantic album.
Beukes agreed, “What we have is chemistry. I can’t think of a way you can plan for chemistry, because of how organic it is. Its impact on the work is crucial, and I think the entire project sounds the way it does not so much because Lauren expresses so well behind the microphone or because I can make strings sound pretty, but because we just “get” each other. On a creative level, we connect effortlessly.”
It is that chemistry that allowed two people from different sides of the world to create an album that is both eclectic and coherent; equally fluid and mechanical. Stream Prototype below and if you fancy what you hear, float Mass Love $10 and show your support on Bandcamp.
I don’t really like “Year in Review” articles, mostly because it’s so hard to recap an entire year in 700 words. Instead, I spent some time reflecting and reviewing my work from the past year and came up with this list of things that I thought made 2012 memorable and monumental in the local music scene.
Indianapolis’ Most Important Musical Event of 2012: The Super Bowl
When I learned that The 2012 Super Bowl would be hosted in Indianapolis, my immediate thought was to make myself scarce during the weeklong festivities leading up to the main event. I despise the game of football and loathed the idea of Indianapolis being invaded by pigskin-loving sports fanatics, but as Indianapolis transformed into the world class city that it was during the Super Bowl, I realized how wrong I was in the beginning.
Indiana weather abandoned its reputation for being uncooperative and instead made outdoor conditions perfect for strolling up and down Georgia Street to take in all of the free concerts. Well-known artists of every genre performed numerous shows every day in Super Bowl Village leading up to the big game. Local bands were just as prominent in Super Bowl Village as national headliners, which made the festivities something to really be proud of. Indianapolis had a lot of out-of-town visitors in February of 2012 and our city’s finest talent was downtown and on stage to entertain them.
Best Non-Local Midwestern Music Festival of 2012: Forecastle
Entering my fourth year of music festival reporting, I began to develop a sour taste in my mouth after returning home from a second pilgrimage to Electric Forest in Rothbury, Michigan. It’s a festival that’s built around bass music set to stunning visuals displayed in a wooded playground that’s practically built for the sole purpose of tripping on drugs. It’s a neat concept when it’s used as a gathering place for strangers to experience live music together in fundamentally new ways; alas, it’s developed into a massive camp-out for chemical substance abuse where the wandering bodies found throughout the festival grounds are so far out of their gourds that there’s no way any of them could possibly be there to enjoy music and community.
One music festival that’s not following suit with this unfortunate trend is Forecastle in Louisville, Kentucky. Forecastle does a lot of things differently that all factor into the quality of the event’s execution. Perhaps most obvious is the location (in the middle of a city) and absence of a massive campground. That missing element- a standard amenity included with the purchase of a ticket to most major festivals- singlehandedly changes the environment of the entire event. Forecastle attendees actually go to see live music and actually remember the weekend’s performances. The venue’s small footprint bound by the Ohio River and Louisville’s skyscrapers means quick and easy access to all of the festival’s stages. Forecastle’s musical versatility also makes it a great festival, offering rock, hip hop, electronic, indie, folk and everything in between. Forecastle is close to home and offers the cleanest vibes in the Midwestern festival circuit. I hope to go back in 2013.
Indy’s 2012 Breakout Artist: Sirius Blvck
2012 was the year of Sirius Blvck in Indianapolis music. It was the year the young emcee realized his full potential and spun off in his own direction to pursue independent projects, yet remained fully devoted to Indian City Weather, the band that introduced him to the Indianapolis music scene over two years ago. It was the year he debuted Ghost Town Gang- Naptown hip hop’s newest artist collective. It was the year he released two mixtapes of his own and made appearances on countless others, including J Brookinz’ renowned Gat3way project.
Impressive and relentless as his work is, Blvck remains humble and consistently strives to shine the spotlight on his fellow Ghost Town Gang members and propel their success in tune with his own. He’s a creative mind with sharp rap skills and selfless goals aimed at bettering the local hip hop scene as a whole, which makes him the perfect role model for aspiring artists young and old alike in 2013.
Local Music’s Biggest WTF Moment in 2012: Brad Real Disappears from the Social Web
Nobody really knows what happened and it’s probably not our business anyways. But, when you’re the “red headed stepchild” of the local hip hop scene and you start Twitter beef with prominent figures by degrading their work in favor of your own, you’re bound to rile up a few bodies. As quickly as the series of bizarre, confrontational tweets appeared on Real’s timeline, they were deleted. Soon after, his entire online social presence had vanished with no explanation as to why or what really happened. I can only hope that Brad Real is safe and sound, and that he bounces back in 2013 with something great to overshadow his mysterious, destructive meltdown of 2012.
Saddest local musical moment in 2012: The Death of Slothpop
When the announcement came in late March that freak folk rockers Slothpop were calling it quits, the greater Indianapolis music scene mourned. Out of all the great talent that our fine city harbors, Slothpop was one of those bands that everyone just assumed was going to make it big. Fans were supportive of the decision and wished the members of Slothpop the best of luck in their individual endeavors… but I think we all still secretly believe that they had the formula right the first time around.
While 2012 was certainly a memorable year in local music, it has also left a lot of room for betterment in 2013. We may not see The Super Bowl again in our city for a long while, but our beautiful Georgia Street could easily make the perfect backdrop for local talent to entertain the spectators of the other high-profile sporting events we host throughout the year. Local music festivals like Mojostock and Hyperion could easily follow Forecastle’s lead by putting in extra effort to ensure their events are less of a drug-induced trip and more of a pure, wholesome experience. And the greater local music scene could probably also benefit by taking cues from Sirius Blvck and working to get better as a whole, not as individuals.
Happy New Year, Indy. Cheers to making 2013 even more memorable and monumental than 2012!